Sweet & Sour Barley-Bean Stew

March/April 1997

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

Honey adds a touch of sweetness to this vegetarian barley soup. Make it a meal: Crisp, sesame-seeded Lavash crackers and a cucumber salad with yogurt would complete this savory vegetarian dinner.

"Have been making this for the last 13 years and still love it. I've successfully substituted wheat berries for barley, as well as different beans and chickpeas. Can't imagine not having some of this "old friend" available in the freezer! "
Sweet & Sour Barley-Bean Stew

Makes: 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

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  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, slivered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Cook barley in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, place eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and squeeze firmly to remove excess moisture.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until beginning to color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in prepared eggplant, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons basil, lemon juice and honey. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the eggplant is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in reserved barley and beans and heat for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Serve hot, garnished with whole basil leaves.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


Per serving: 323 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 72 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 17 g fiber; 614 mg sodium; 1037 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (39% daily value), Potassium (30% dv), Vitamin A (19% dv), Magnesium (18% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3 1/2

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 lean meat

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March/April 1997
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